NEWS | CHARITY | N.G.O
By Lonjezo Idrissah
“It is high time societies embraced mentally challenged people and motivate them just like any ‘normal’ human being.”
Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) Mental Health Assistant, Alex Mbewe made the call when his organization in conjunction with Zomba Mental Hospital Medical Specialists, visited some selected villages around Traditional Authority Mlumbe in Zomba recently.
The visit, under YONECO’s “Passing and Supporting Building Tactics for Community Mental Health Care project”, aimed at monitoring the progress of individuals who have been receiving mental health treatment over time.
According to Mbewe, most of the people who are mentally ill face isolation by those not suffering from it; leading to high depressions to the affected individuals.
“Most people, who are mentally ill, are basically isolated from their communities by their families, and friends. As such, they need to be motivated so they can be living a positive life for most of them look down upon themselves,” observes he.
Agreeing with Mbewe, Senior Disease Control Surveillance Assistant for Thondwe Health Center, Grey Phiri, discarded the tendency by some quarters of ill-treating those with mental health illnesses.
“We need to take those suffering or overcoming mental health illnesses as part of us. There’s no need to be isolating them,” advised he.
On her part, Angelina Chilumpha, one of medical specialists at Zomba Mental Hospital said chiefs should take a big role in caring for people who suffer from mental health illness by ensuring that they go to receive their treatments regularly to the nearest health centers.
Chilumpha also advised Chiefs to be involving people with mental health problems and are receiving proper medication in development activities in their societies.
“Chiefs are custodians of our heritage. They’re the hub of our respective communities so they should ensure that there’s no segregation of the subjects basing on their health status,” she advises.